Jimmy Kimmel made his 13th appearance at ABC’s upfront event with his annual roast in the middle of the network’s presentation. Last year, Kimmel zinged on relatively tame subject matter — the infamous Jay-Z elevator fight, ESPN, NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage and so on. This year, he went a bit harder, roasting the way ABC crowed about its diverse lineup, on Fox’s last place standing, on Brian Williams’ suspension and very frequently on ABC President Paul Lee:
Before we get going, I just want [to confirm that] a grown man with a degree from Oxford University stood on this stage and told you he’s excited about the Muppets. Is that true?
This is my 27th year I’ve done this, and this time I have good news. I talked to (Disney head) Bob Iger, and he told me since we have The Avengers and Star Wars later this year, we don’t need money from you [advertisers].
Yesterday NBC told you that they’re the No. 1 network, and now here we are telling you we’re the No. 1 network. Which means one of us is lying to you. And I’m here to tell you it’s us.
We’re doing very very well since we decided to start acknowledging that minorities exist. We truly are the most diverse network. We have a show called Black-ish that was greenlit by a guy who is both British and Jewish. We’ve got people of color, we’ve got women, we’ve got men who are turning into women. We are commited to diversity at every level of our organization. Except The Bachelor, we’re going to keep that one white.
We are so diverse that when CBS drives by us, they lock their car doors.
ABC’s breaking down barriers while the other networks are just standing by. Fox made a comedy about the apocalypse where only white people survived. Of course, a lot of the credit for this goes to Shonda Rhimes, This was odd — in an interview with Adweek last month, Paul said that ABC’s success is only partially due to Shonda. Which is kind of like saying the success of Thriller is only partially due to Michael Jackson. Paul, let’s be honest, without Shonda you’d be back at Hogwarts with all the other muggles.
There are rumors that this will be the final season of the show that built Shondaland, Grey’s Anatomy. McDreamy is dead; he was killed in a car accident suddenly, which was not exactly the integration that people here were hoping for.
Getting rid of Patrick Dempsey is one of a lot of big changes we’re making to the network this year. This season we’ll have two Bachelorettes — we’ll have two women and 25 guys, like the Avengers. The men are gonna vote, and then one of the two women, the one who wins, will be selected to hand out the final rose. But the real winner as always will be feminism.
I say forget more bachelorettes, we need more Bruce Jenners. That Bruce Jenner interview was huge for us, 17 million people tuned into watch his chat with Diane Sawyer, and that’s why we’re making this solemn promise to you, our sponsors: Starting this fall, someone on ABC will change genders every week. And I don’t want to spoil the end of Paul’s presentation, but I do wanna say that we are all so proud of him and he is so brave.
Our news division is on a roll, ABC World News had its first first place finish in seven years this season, thanks to anchor Brian Williams. [NBC] didn’t mention it yesterday, but Brian of course was suspended for six moths for basically doing the same thing we’re doing to you right now.
Fox is bringing back The X-Files. Poor Fox, they’re in last place. Last year when we were in last place, we said it wasn’t so bad. But now that Fox is in last, they suck, right? But they do have Empire. Did they mention that in their presentation?
They said Empire is one of the few networks success stories this year because it brings in everything audiences love: fun characters, wild plot twists and a white audience that is desperately trying to look cool in front of their black friends. I haven’t watched it. I live it, yo. One night I thought I was watching it, but it turned out it was a rerun of Dynasty and I left my sunglasses on.It’s a good thing they have Empire, because Fox announced yesterday they’re canceling American Idol. They gave it a shot, it didn’t work, so they’re pulling the plug on it. It’s weird that they’re canceling American Idol. American Idol felt like one of those things that would be around forever, like herpes. And without American Idol, think about it, there’d be no Simon Cowell, there’d be no Ryan Seacrest, and we’d never known that the person we thought was Steven Tyler is actually just a bunch of scarves wrapped around a boner.
CBS is canceling one of their huge flagship shows, CSI. After 15 years this will be the farewell season of CSI. In the last episode they’re going to try to solve what they’re calling the greatest muystery of all, which is finding out who for the last 15 years is watching CSI. And The Mentalist was cancelled too, so tonight when you get home, make sure to call your grandparents and tell them that you love them.
CBS is now going after young viewers. And how do you get young viewers? I’ll tell ya, you do it with three little words: “Marcia. Gay. Harden.” Fire up the hastags.
Oh, we have a hashtag now at ABC, and I’ll tell ya something, it makes all the difference. We actually have two hashtags: TGIT for thank God it’s Thursday, and OFITROTW – oh f*ck, it’s the rest of the week.But I will say I feel confident we’re going to beat NBC this season. Hands down. Why do I think that? Because they’re bringing back Coach — which, as you know, was the sixth-most-popular show of 1993.
I’m actually glad NBC is bringing back Coach, because at night I lie awake at night wondering what Coach has been up to for the last 18 years. I’ll finally get some closure on that.
I was actually handed a note to read to Bob Greenblatt. Please indulge me on that. “Dear Bob: We’re glad that Dolly Parton will always love you, because after what you made us sit through yesterday, no one ever will. Signed, everyone.”
Wow, Dolly Parton. They’re making a strong play for that urban demographic, aren’t they?
They are bringing back The Wiz. This will be NBC’s third live televised musical catastrophe. This time they’re teaming up with Cirque du Soleil. It’s all part of NBC’s plan to become the No. 1 hotel in Las Vegas.
They’re smart, though, because NBC knows that in this new world of veiwers getting whatever they want to watch anytime they want to watch it, what people really wanna see is actors dancing uncomfortably in front of fake trees
(Almost no one laughs.)
I thought it was funny.
At ABC, we don’t recycle old ideas, we work tirelessly to bring you terrible new ideas. Some of them you’ve already seen today. But the truth is, our competition isn’t CBS or Fox, or even television — it’s everything else, you have so many places to spend your money now. It really sucks for us. We hate it. Back when there were only three networks, we could get away with putting anything on the air. But now we have to compete with nipples and dragons.
I’m just getting word Paul greenlit a show called Nipples And Dragons, so that’s a good first step.
We have so much competition from cable and online. Why would you spend your marketing money online? Who goes online? Nobody I know. And even if we do go online, we’re certainly not sitting through pop-up ads. I click through those like a ninja. I have never seen more than three or four seconds of a pop-up ad. Even if I didn’t have arms, I’d be able to peck that little x with my nose.
You can’t trust the Internet; you can trust us. The Internet steals your credit card numbers; TV doesn’t do that. But everyone thinks we’re dying. Variety recently said that time might be running out for primetime television. You hear that, guys? Print journalism says our days are numbered.
We’re TV. We are not going anywhere. We are mounted to the wall of your home. Like the head of a moose, you are not taking us down.
ABC is the only network to grow our audience last year. Why? Because we were in last place last season. Nowhere else to go.
We’re not about reaching a big audience. We’re not about meaningless barometers like ratings. We’re about transparency. We’re so transparent sometimes we’re almost invisible.
There are so many reasons to trust network television: We’re transparent, we’re diverse, we have TVDMP, and I know you need it.
Sorry, my Uber driver is four minutes away.
Um, before I go, I wanna show you something. Excuse me for one second…
(Kimmel walks to the side of the stage and is handed his baby daughter. Many “awwws.”)
This is my daughter. Her name is Jane. Jane, say hi to Bob Iger. He owns Disneyland.
I think she’s pooping. (To Jane) We could sell that poop to them. They’d buy it!
Jane is 10 months old, Jane will graduate high school in 2032. And in the year 2032, when this network reboots Paul Blart: Mall Cop and makes it into a series, I want this sweet little girl to be able to to pull her hovercraft up to her television and watch Paul Blart on the American Broadcasting Company for free. Only you can make that happen.
On behalf of Jane and all the kids in her generation, I want to thank you for listening, I want to thank you for your support, and I want to apologize that we did not provide donuts. We didn’t know NBC was going to do that. We’ll see you next year.
(Note: NBC put a pack of mini donuts on each seat at its upfront presentation Monday.)
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.